KEIR RADNEDGE: FIFA president Gianni Infantino and secretary-general Fatma Samoura have pledged themselves to achieve a massive push on behalf of women’s football.

Infantino outlined the world federation’s ambition within publication of a far-reaching strategy to restructure and refocus the organisation after years in which its name, under former president Sepp Blatter, had become a byword for scandal.

Sarai Bareman . . . new leading role

The 46-year-old Swiss-Italian lawyer pointed up the enhanced commitment to the women’s game in a media briefing part-way through a meeting of the new FIFA Council – including five female members – in the Home of Football in Zurich*.

Infantino, introducing FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future, said: “We have moved from words to action on women’s football. A lot has been said in the last years about this but for the first time there is now a dedicated women’s football division in FIFA.”

Heading up the division, as confirmed earlier this week, will be New Zealander Sarai Bareman. She had been a member of the FIFA reform commission last year which brought forward proposals for greater female representation within the corridors of power.

FIFA plans to ramp up its investment in women’s football development to the tune of $315m in the next 10 years with the aim of doubling women’s football participation from 30m to 60m.

This is a central plank in Infantino’s ambitious project ultimately to see “more than 60pc of the world’s population participating in one way or another as player or coach or referee or fan in football.”

Funding support will be available for the organisation of girls’ leagues, womens’ professional leagues, and the creation of a development strategy for the women’s game.

The project’s publication coincided, conveniently, with the historic staging in Jordan of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

Samoura, the former United Nations coordinator appointed in June, said: “We want FIFA to be the repository of best practice concerning developing the game and making it accessible to all.”

* The five female members present at FIFA Council were Lydia Nsekera (CAF), Sonia Bien Aime (CONCACAF), María Sol Muñoz (CONMEBOL), Evelina Christillin (UEFA) and Sandra Fruean (Oceania).

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